B.C.'s Lower Mainland
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The Lower Mainland is one of Canada's most rapidly changing ecoregions, largely because of its growing population and its evolving economy. Located in the southwestern corner of British Columbia, the Lower Mainland encompasses Vancouver and its surrounding area and the Sunshine Coast.
At 5,067 km2 and with a population of 2.4 million (2006), it is the most densely populated ecoregion in the country, with 473 people per km2. The Lower Mainland's main population centres include the Vancouver and Abbotsford–Mission metropolitan areas.
From 1971 to 2006, the ecoregion's population more than doubled to reach 8% of Canada's total. Even so, the amount of agricultural land area in the Lower Mainland remained relatively stable over that period, shrinking by less than 3%.
The principal land uses in the ecoregion are forests (44%), developed land (23%)—which includes built-up areas, lawns, road surfaces, industrial sites and farmsteads—and agriculture (13%).
Map 15.2 Lower Mainland ecoregion, British Columbia
Source: Statistics Canada, Geography Division.